Rio Chama is located in the oldest neighborhood in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Barrio de Analco, which literally means “neighborhood on the other side of the river.”
In 2001, Rio Chama opened its doors to the public and is now under the leadership of Executive Chef Tony Blankenship. Chef Blankenship has developed a simple yet delicious style of food. He believes that elegance can be as simple as a ripe pear with good blue cheese, and his “real food, natural ingredient” philosphy is present throughout Rio Chama’s menu.
Since 2001, Rio Chama has undergone a tremendous amount of construction, conceptual change, and expansion. The original incarnation of the restaurant included the bar and the dining room and in the summer, the courtyard and patio.
In 2005, we acquired an additional building formerly belonging to Cristoff’s in order to accommodate larger groups. We have affectionately named this space the Baca House in honor of long-time employee, Patricia Baca, whose grandparents owned the house, where she used to sometimes spend the night as a child.
2006 was the year Rio Chama renovated the room next to the Baca House in order to add the Humidor–the only public cigarette and cigar bar in Santa Fe. In addition to the Humidor, Rio Chama began large-scale construction of two new spaces in the main facility: the President’s Room and the Abiquiú Room.
These spaces were put into operation in September 2007, The President’s Room is a banquet room with seating for up to 120 people which has been host to many prestigious guests, including Bill Richardson and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Our Abiquiú Room, a private 36-seat wine cellar, opened at the same time. The room features a private collection of Georgia O’Keefe photos done by her personal photographer, Malcolm Varon. The first wine dinner to be held in the room was the Heitz Cellars wine dinner in 2007. In 2008, we hosted Domaine Serene, of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The Abiquiú Room has also hosted the Clio Awards Dinners for the past two years.